Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about Calendars and Dates. It is designed to complement the Calendar and Dates topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

A calendar is a chart that keeps track of time. Just as people use clocks to plan their day, many people use calendars to help plan their day, week, or year. We recommend watching the Time to the Hour movie together to review the 24 hours in a day. Review with your children that a week is a unit of seven days. A month is a unit of about four weeks or 28-31 days. A year is a unit of twelve months, about 52 weeks, or 365 days. There are 366 days in a leap year.

There are several calendars in use in the world today. The Gregorian calendar is the most commonly used, which divides the year into 12 months and 365 or 366 days. The months are based on the moon’s rotation around Earth and the year is based on Earth’s rotation around the Sun. The lunar calendar, used in many Islamic countries, is based purely on the motion of the moon and is shorter than the Gregorian calendar. The lunar calendar is divided into 12 months, but the year is about 354 days per year. There are also cultures that employ a solar/lunar calendar, such as the Hebrew calendar and the Chinese calendar. These calendars employ leap months or leap years in order to follow the Sun and the phases of the moon. Academic and fiscal calendars are also used to manage time.

Your children may already be familiar with the days of the week and the months, but a quick review is always helpful. Writing the date is also an important concept to teach and review. There are several standardized ways to write the date. The first is spelling out the month then followed by the day and year, as in August 25th, 1998. Remind children about the position of the comma, just after the number of the day. This date can also be written using numbers for the months. January is the first month of the year, and it is represented by a 1. February is the second month, and it is represented by a 2, and so on. The date August 25, 1998 can be written as 8/25/1998, using slashes, or as 8-25-1998 with dashes.

Many children have problems remembering the days of the week and the months of the year. Parents and teachers can employ heuristics in helping their children memorize the vocabulary. Another difficulty children meet when learning about days of the week and months of the year is spelling. Encourage your child to find patterns in the names and think of strategies for remembering them. Keeping plenty of day and year calendars around the school or home will also help children become accustomed to the words.